Like several other places in
Clinton County, township names and those of its primary municipality have the same origin.
Bath gets its name from Bath in Steuben County, N.Y., the former residence of Silas Rose.
Ira Cushman was the first settler in Bath, arriving in 1836; Silas Rose came in 1838,
as did James Smith and his family and the Jacob Conklins. The territory now comprised of
Bath and Victor townships was set off by the legislature in 1839 as the township of
Owosso. The name was dropped by legislative action in 1843, and the territory was divided
into Victor and Bath.
The community of Bath was first settled by Dustin Marr, a soldier of the Mexican War
who received a land-warrant from the government. The advent of the railroad spurred
growth. The town was platted and Israel Van Ostran built a small tavern, while F.Kelly and
John Steffe opened a store and Charles Farrer opened a blacksmith shop.
Mr. Lee built a sawmill in 1864; James
Sweeney operated a brick factory in 1869; and Leach, Ray and Company opened the Bath
Flouring-Mill in 1880. Other businesses that followed included a drug store, cream and
butter stations, apple dryer, shoe repair and harness shop, boot and cooper makers.
Rural school buildings were constructed at various locations in the township, and a
brick school was completed in the settlement of Bath in 1873. When the Bath School was
constructed in 1922, it contained 12 grades.
Bath gained national attention May 18, 1927 when Andrew Kehoe, who had served as
treasurer of the school board, set off a dynamite blast at that relatively new building,
killing 45 students and teachers and injuring many others. Kehoe also destroyed his home,
barns, and killed himself and his wife.
Michigan Senator James Couzens donated $75,000 of personal funds to rebuild the school
that was finished in 1928 and named for him. The aged structure was demolished in 1975.
The cupola from that school stands today as a tribute to the victims - and survivors - of
the Bath School Bombing, located in James Couzens Memorial Park.
Schools still play a prominent
role in the community life of Bath area residents, who enjoy the close-knit feel of their
home town. Voters recently approved a major $14.5 million bond issue that paves the way
for renovations to existing facilities, and the construction of a new gym at Bath High